Artificial Intelligence: IBM Study Finds The Pandemic Accelerated AI’s Rollout

Morning Consult conducted the study, titled “Global AI Adoption Index 2021,” on behalf of IBM.

IBM’s Global AI Adoption Index 2021 found that nearly a third of the IT professionals surveyed confirmed their businesses had commenced the use of AI. Further, 43% said the COVID-19 pandemic had catalyzed a faster rollout of AI at their companies. On the flip side, challenges to the adoption of the technology included scarcity of skills and complexity of data. (IBM)

AI is driving a change in how businesses operate

The study found that across the globe the pandemic had transformed the way businesses functioned and made them more amenable to the adoption of AI.

Therefore, even though the study found, on a year-over-basis, that AI adoption was basically flat, it did identify a significant change in its momentum.

“As organizations move to a post-pandemic world, data from the Global AI Adoption Index 2021 underscores a major uptick in AI investment,” said Rob Thomas, Senior Vice President, IBM Cloud and Data Platform, in a statement. “A large majority of those investments continue to be focused on the three key capabilities that define AI for business – automating IT and processes, building trust in AI outcomes, and understanding the language of business. We believe these investments will continue to accelerate rapidly as customers look for new, innovative ways to drive their digital transformations by taking advantage of hybrid cloud and AI.”

IBM study On global AI adoption

Almost one-third of IT professionals say their firm is using AI technology and almost half say their companies are exploring AI, the study observed.

The study also found that larger companies are almost 70% more likely (a difference of 18 percentage points) than smaller companies to have actively deployed AI as part of their business operations.

The factors which played a dominant role in driving the adoption of AI included advances in AI technology, business needs, and business transformations due to the pandemic.

Investment focus:

Barriers to AI adoption

However, the study identified that the top three barriers to AI adoption were limited expertise (39%), increasing data complexity (32%), and a lack of tools for developing AI models (28%).

“Persistent barriers across markets and industries highlight the need for continued focus on addressing skills and solutions gaps,” IBM observed.

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